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January 15, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Famous Felines of Rome are in Jeopardy

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Paws & Awws Blog Series

When thinking of Rome, one might think of the Colosseum, the Palatine Hill, ancient bath houses, or maybe the abundance of beautiful churches, fountains, or museums. But, would you think of cats as being a main attraction for tourists?

In the ruins at Torre Argentina, you can spot many homeless kitties making their way along these various ancient and famous areas. The cats are often sought out by tourist, and are often a hot topic of discussion around the various attractions. These famous felines are taken care of by the Torre Argentina Cat Shelter Association, which sadly is under an eviction notice by Italian archaeology officials. The Italian archaeology officials state the shelter is illegal and must go. They aren't evicting the cats from the area, but are shutting done the facility that takes care of them.

Cat lovers around the world are in an uproar about this situation.

The shelter provides a means to take care of these stray cats. Food, medical assistance, spaying and neutering, and yearly vaccinations are all part of making sure these loved felines are kept healthy, and to avoid overpopulation.

In the article "Cat Fight in Rome", one of the shelter's founders, Lia Dequel makes a valid point when she says "If I leave these cats here, who sterilizes them? They wouldn't go to a doctor and say, 'Hi, doctor, sterilize me,' or 'vaccinate me,' or (to) be fed.";

To her credit, she is absolutely right. If this shelter is shut down, who will take over making sure the cats remain an interest to the tourist, versus a nuisance to the area?

Even Rome's city council recognizes the cats as part of the city's "biocultural heritage." So where does this leave these well known felines and their shelter? Sadly, in a fight with the Italian archaeology officials to save this beloved shelter that provides so much care and love for these cats, in a city that is often recognized for the cats, and not just the famous monuments.

What do you think of the predicament the shelter is in?


NPR Organization

Roman Cats

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